It’s this time of the year again. The major holiday season is approaching fast and with it comes the main relocation season for many expats and diplomatic staff. If this sounds like you and if you are planning towards your posting to Ghana this year, you might want to continue reading a little bit more. We reveal how you can find a suitable Medical Service Provider in Ghana by following 4 simple steps.
Planning towards a posting can be an exciting and at the same time very stressful period.
So much needs to be done and organized and it seems as if time just runs faster than usual. By now you might have filled out and sent dozens of applications for employment transfer, housing assistance, school placement and many more important documents.
And then after months and weeks of preparation you finally set foot on Ghanaian soil. You are ready to start your new assignment with full enthusiasm…..until you happen to fall sick right after arrival.
And now what?
Unfortunately, it is quite common to catch a Traveler’s Diarrhea, Gastro- intestinal disturbance or a common cold during the first few days after arrival. Your stress levels before your trip were probably quite high, you might have gotten less sleep, or you are trying to adapt to a new environment and a new culture in record time. All which can have an impact on your usually strong immune system. Each posting comes with its own challenges and a sudden change in diet, dealing with a new climate, foreign viruses and germs can quickly have an impact on your overall health status.
Travel clinic advice will give you a basic understanding how to avoid common diseases and your international health insurance will cover your financial aspects. But what happens when you are confronted with the challenge to find a suitable medical facility in Ghana that can cater for your needs in a safe and satisfying manner?
Interested in joining our Medical Orientation Tours? Please, see more information at the bottom of this article.
If this sounds like something you might be worried about, please continue reading. We will share with you 4 essential tips about how to find a suitable medical service provider that can cater for your day-to- day medical demands as well as emergency situations.
- Get to know the difference between private and public healthcare facilities in Accra
Ok, this might sound simple….Private facilities are individually owned; whiles public facilities are government- run. But would you know some of the main characteristics of both types?
For a quick overview:
Public facilities are usually more crowded, tend to see a larger number of patients in a day, and do mostly not give out appointments. It is very common for patients to report at a facility as early as 5 am, to avoid the large crowd that is usually expected around opening time. Customer service is often not the main priority and patients can vary from low, middle to upper income class. Medical Doctors are usually well trained, but general nursing care and hygienic aspects are often low. Outpatient facilities tend to appear very chaotic and disorganized to patients not used to this environment, but actually do have a system in place (if also sometimes not easy to spot).
Private facilities on the other side, usually see a smaller number of patients a day, often give out appointments and recognize that good patient service equals better income. Often times, Doctors that consult at a public facility might also consult at a private facility during their off-times.
It is important to mention that most specialized services and especially advanced emergency care is situated at public facilities.
- Get to know the difference between an outpatient facility and a hospital in Ghana
Outpatient facilities, as the name already suggests, treat patients that do not require admission or overnight medical treatment. They are usually the go-to providers that cater for your regular check-ups, family visits and minor treatments. Most facilities are capable of handling common laboratory testing and offer a wide arrangement of specialist clinics, provided by external consultants that visit the facility on pre- determined days. Sometimes, it is possible to have minor imaging testing, such as Ultrasound, ECG and 24-hour blood pressure monitoring done. Patients with conditions that require medical detention for a few hours can usually be treated at an outpatient facility. In cases where a condition does not improve over a few hours, patients will subsequently be referred to a hospital for admission. Minor emergencies can either be treated on the spot or stabilized for referral to a bigger emergency unit.
Hospitals on the other hand, can see patients requiring general practitioner services or specialist consultations, patients that report after outpatient facilities have closed for the day, patients that require admission and emergency cases. Depending on the size and the setup of a facility, a hospital can offer a selection of imaging services, such as X-ray, Ultrasound and sometimes CT scan. Often times, more specialized requests, such as MRI scans, Angiograms, Doppler and more invasive tests need to be referred to an offsite imaging service provider.
Please, note that public tertiary institutions in Ghana require a referral letter from a lower placed service provider. In emergency cases, patients can report at the Accident and Emergency Department of a tertiary institution and will then be sorted out and referred to the appropriate unit.
Our special tip here is to have at least one hospital option in the back of your mind, even if you decide to stick with an outpatient clinic for your general healthcare demands. You might never know if this could come in useful at some point.
- Get to know the working hours of your Medical Service Provider
For your general healthcare demands you might choose to select an outpatient clinic instead of a hospital. Some outpatient facilities (private as well as public facilities) still run on the regular 8 am-5 pm working hours, whiles others now offer extended consultation times, to accommodate the working public and choose to open their doors on weekends and holidays. Private facilities tend to be much more flexible, whiles public institutions have a set operating time.
Unfortunately, falling sick cannot be planned in advance and knowing where you can turn to after regular closing time can assist you in those instances.
Hospitals in Ghana operate on a 24/7 basis and can be used for both regular check-ups as well as emergency situations.
- Know which services are offered at your facility
Services vary from facility to facility. Some providers offer a wide range of specialist clinics whiles others stick to a minimum selection. If you have children, you might want to consider a facility that offers pediatric services, whiles those with a chronic condition might opt to have regular access to physician specialist and so on. Get to know the appointment policy to see a specialist. Some facilities operate on a walk-in basis, whiles others require a pre- booking. Again, determine if you have a need for specialized imaging testing when choosing a service provider.
If you have made it up to here in our article, Congratulations! You are now hopefully well equipped to choose a suitable medical service provider during your stay in Ghana.
Ready to choose your provider?
We offer frequently organized Medical Orientation Tours to selected medical facilities in Accra. Participants have the opportunity to meet face- to- face with a clinic representative, have the opportunity to experience a facility first hand before falling sick and can get all the answers to the burning questions they might have. Simply click on the link above and learn more about our offers.